Thursday, 30 April 2015
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Inland Waterways Development
211. To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent to which she has conversed with traditional canal users, canal dwellers and recreational users arising from the draft proposals and increased charges possibly affecting the future use of the canals, at least one of which was restored through voluntary effort; if agreement has yet been reached in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17163/15]
I refer the Deputy to my reply to Questions No. 654 of 10 February 2015 and No. 169 of 11 March 2015.
I am aware that concerns have been raised regarding certain aspects of the proposed bye-laws that Waterways Ireland intends to make in order to enhance the management of the canals for all canal users.
Waterways Ireland undertook a public consultation process in relation to the proposed bye-laws in 2014. I am advised that the main stakeholders, including the Inland Waterway Association of Ireland, the Heritage Boat Association, the Royal Canal Amenity Group and the Irish Boat Rental Association, were contacted individually and invited to meet with the Chief Executive and the senior management team of Waterways Ireland prior to submitting their views. In addition, the current permit holders, including traditional canal users and canal dwellers on the Royal and Grand Canals and the Barrow Navigation, received individual written notices and were given the opportunity to make their views known.
I understand that over 2,000 submissions were made in the course of the public consultation process. A summary of the consultation process and of the submissions received is available on the Waterways Ireland website at .
The current position is that there is ongoing liaison between Waterways Ireland and my Department with a view to finalising the draft bye-laws, which will be referred to me with recommendations for consideration and final decision. As previously stated, it is my intention to afford interested Deputies and Senators an opportunity to discuss the proposals with me prior to making a final decision on the draft bye-laws.